Finding Your Keynote Speaker At The Last Minute

We’ve all been there—plans fall through, dates sneak up on us, and suddenly you’re in a bind. You need a top-notch keynote speaker for your upcoming conference, and time is not on your side. While it might seem like a daunting task, securing a great speaker at the last minute is definitely achievable. Let’s walk through some proven strategies that can help you pull off a conference-saving move.

Understand Your Needs and Constraints

Before you hit the panic button, take a deep breath and define exactly what you need. What is the goal of your conference? Who is your audience? What are the logistical details such as the date, time, and location? Knowing these details will help you weed through speakers who may have lots of open availability at the expense of being a bad fit.

Quick Tip: Be Ready to Compromise

Remember, flexibility is your best friend in situations like these. Maybe you envisioned a certain big-name speaker, but being open to lesser-known speakers with similar messaging and energy can widen your pool of potential candidates significantly.

Keynote speaker Rob Anderson delivers a motivational business speech to an audience at a corporate event.

Utilize Professional Networks

One of the fastest ways to connect with available speakers is through your own professional networks. Reach out to colleagues, industry contacts, and anyone linked to professional speaking circles. You’d be surprised how often a personal recommendation can lead to a fantastic last-minute booking.

Leverage Social Media

Platforms like LinkedIn can be incredibly effective for quick connections. A simple post stating your need can draw recommendations, or you might find speakers who’ve shared recent posts indicating their availability.

Contact Speaker Bureaus

Speaker bureaus are like the emergency services of the speaking world—they specialize in managing and booking speakers, including handling last-minute requests. Explain your situation and what you’re looking for; these professionals are skilled at matching speakers with events quickly.

The Save-the-Day Bureau

I once spoke for a client whose original speaker canceled just one week before a major industry event. They contacted a speaker bureau who books me frequently. The bureau reached out to me and one other speaker who had availability. They connected me with the client on a Zoom call, and it turned out I was a perfect fit for their event. The bureau locked everything up, we did the contract that day, and they saved the day for this client at the last minute.

Leverage Technology and Flexibility

Virtual Keynote Speakers

Leverage the power of modern tech! Zoom and other video services have boomed in the past several years. If travel or scheduling conflicts are an issue, consider a virtual keynote. Many speakers are equipped to deliver presentations remotely since they often do online events in today’s world. While it’s not ideal to offer a virtual keynote to a live crowd, the right speaker who is experienced in their delivery can pull this off perfectly.

Tech Platforms

There are several online platforms such as Gigsalad where you can find speakers at a moment’s notice. The speakers’ profiles on these sites should include reviews and videos, so you can quickly assess if someone’s style and expertise fit your event.

Prepare an Attractive Offer

When you’re short on time, making your event attractive to the speaker is crucial. Be upfront about what you can offer, including fees, travel accommodations, and any significant exposure they might gain from participating in your event. If your event includes an audience filled with marketing teams or meeting planners, this is a big plus.

Negotiate Wisely

Be clear about what’s negotiable. Sometimes, offering a flexible format or additional benefits can be just as appealing as a higher fee.

Quick Decision Making and Contract Finalization

In last-minute situations, the ability to make fast decisions is key. Once you find a speaker who fits your needs, move quickly to secure them. Ensure that the contract covers all essential aspects—fees, logistics, content expectations—and get it signed.

Audience at corporate event laughs as they watch a keynote speech delivered by corporate keynote speaker Rob Anderson

You’ve Got This!

Securing a keynote speaker on short notice may sound stressful, but it’s entirely possible to find someone who can not only fill the gap, but enhance your event. Keep your communication clear, use your resources wisely, and maintain flexibility both in your expectations and your negotiations.

Need A Speaker Right Now?

Have I mentioned… I’m a seasoned keynote speaker! I travel nationwide for my clients such as Keller Williams Realty and Lululemon who book me to deliver my interactive keynotes. I speak from the experience of spending 10 years as a professional Las Vegas magician and a lifelong entrepreneur. If you want your team to start thinking radically outside the box about solving unexpected challenges and creating experiences, let’s talk. Use the contact form on my website to get in touch right now!